I hear it all the time.  We’re losing our tail on this product.  Should we kill it?  The question is well-intended, but often the analysis that leads to the answer is misguided.  Companies that rely on standard cost systems to understand product costs, which is the vast majority of manufacturers, can easily fall victim to…

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Old habits are hard to break. When I was 40 years old, I had Lasik surgery on my eyes. After three decades of wearing glasses every day, I could suddenly see without them. But my old actions persisted. For six months after the surgery, I would go to bed and reach for my face to…

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It seems strange now, but in 2019 the most pressing challenge for many manufacturers was talent management and the availability of qualified workers. Companies employed many strategies to hire and retain workers, including pay increases, referral bonuses, internal training programs, flexible schedules, relaxed hiring standards, and engagement with local high schools and vo-techs. We also…

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Ribs

As I write this post, it’s the beginning of February. One month of the new year is already behind us. How are you progressing against your 2020 plans? Are you meeting all your goals, or do you have some areas that are struggling? I’m always amazed at how easy it is to get off track…

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We know what to do with our rock star employees. We show them the love. We also know what to do with our worst employees. We show them the door. But what should we do with middle performing employees? Sometimes they have moments of brilliance that leave you thinking, “They’re okay. Let’s keep working with…

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Assessing Your Talent Brand Status

We often think of a company’s logo and color scheme as representing its brand, but brand is much more than aesthetics. It represents people’s impression and thoughts about your company—what is called brand status. A company’s reputation is everything in a highly competitive market. When beginning the process of recruiting and hiring talented workers, ask…

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Solving Talent Systems Problems

Over the next few months, I will be writing about talent systems that will highlight specific parts of the talent pipeline. For any factory—and any place of business, for that matter—success is directly correlated to the talent of the workforce. Having a methodical, deliberate approach to hiring, onboarding, and retaining the right people is imperative.…

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The Appeal of the Group: How Groupthink Affects Change

One of the most powerful forces that can inhibit the willingness and ability of people to change their behavior is the effect of groups. Humans are social creatures, and we want to be part of and identify with a group. It may be a church group, sports team, work team, book club or even a street…

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Executing Business Plans with Precision

I’ll probably get lambasted for mining my daughter’s wedding for business lessons, but I can’t help myself. When I was first learning about Lean 20 years ago, I remember sitting in church saying to myself, “I bet I could double the throughput of people through this church without people missing a single bit of the…

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Bolstering Your Workforce Through Strategic Planning

“We’re having a hard time finding workers.” That’s something heard from nearly every manufacturer in the U.S. When I visit with clients, I hear the lamentations about the school system pushing everyone to a four-year degree, the challenge of millennials, the perception of manufacturing going to China, and the evolution of teens migrating from working…

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